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Organization Tips: Make this Year Manageable

Caitlin Orsborne

Back to school time for special educators is a time where we can attempt to prepare ourselves for a year full of IEP goals, data collection, and of course, fun.  There are a few things I do every school year to try and make the year a bit more manageable.

1.  Update my teacher binder:  I have written about my teacher binder on TeachHub before and it is something that I still continue to use.  Every year I tweak it a bit and this year is no different.  I have updated my Student Information sheet to include any new information and filled out my IEP due date sheet for the current school year.  For more information, check out .

2.  Update data binder: I found last year that my data section was just to huge to be included in my Teacher binder, so data got its own binder.  I update my data binder to include my new students with copies of their IEPs, goals, and data collection sheets.  There are a lot of options for data collections sheets that are already made.  My favorite to use for sight words are from A Special Kind of Class

3.  IEP Goals: Speaking of IEP goals, I like to review my IEP goals and put each students goals on to one sheet.  Another teacher I know even color codes hers by domain area.  Having all of the goals on one sheet enables me to quickly look at a goal instead of flipping through 50 page IEP documents.  I can also share these goal sheets with specials teachers and paraprofessionals so that they can also easily see what the student is working towards.  I also copy parent/teacher/therapist input forms that I use when we are writing the annual IEP.   There are some great ones available as a free download from Not2Crumby on Teacher's Pay Teachers. 

4.  Organize, Organize, Organize:  I have admitted in the past how unorganized of a person I am, but I am really trying hard.  I have found a few small systems that work for me, but I am still overwhelmed at times.  I have finally come to the conclusion that to help  me become more organized (which I feel will help me teach to my greatest potential), I need to purge ... big time.  When you don't have as much stuff, then there is not as much to get messy.  Do you really need to keep those copies of art orders from 1975 or lesson plans that you wrote in college?

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If you are looking for more information about getting ready for back to school as a special educator check out the series going on over at A Special Sparkle

What is something you do every year to prepare for the beginning of the school year?